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Rio+20: Who Owns The Green Economy?

By Matthew Rimmer

The Rio+20 summit has raised a number of difficult questions about law and technology.

Science under Siege

By Clive Hamilton

When the denial machine goes after climate scientists it is, as one of them said, like the marines going into battle against boy scouts.

The brutality of the attacks has once again been confirmed by the release of some of the emails sent to Phil Jones, the University of East Anglia climate scientist at the centre of the “Climategate” storm.

The emails make for sickening reading and anyone receiving them would be foolish not to treat the threats as potentially serious.

Australian climate scientists have for some years been receiving the same kind of abuse and threats. Every time Andrew Bolt targets a scientist for criticism he or she receives a torrent of aggression from his legion of followers.

Scientific research spending lags behind smaller countries

By Justin Norrie 
Editor

Nations half the size of Australia spend more on scientific research, have higher employment levels for scientists, and greater appeal to foreign investors, according to a report on Australia’s global standing in science.

Although Australia’s rate of spending on research and development is greater than in France, Canada and Britain, it remains well below the rate in smaller Scandinavian nations, according to the report, commissioned by Australia’s chief scientist, Ian Chubb.

Swisse Vitamins highlights the failure of industry self-regulation

By Ken Harvey

Encouraging GPs to “on-sell” products to patients is likely to produce unnecessary or inappropriate prescribing

Swisse Vitamins Pty Ltd has been in the news recently over their Federal Court action to suppress a determination of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Complaint Resolution Panel (CRP) about a number of their products. And now a new marketing campaign by the company has highlighted the limitations of the complementary medicines industry’s self-regulation.

Genome–Disease Association Studies Defended

By Stephen Luntz

"Failure of candidate gene studies showed how little we knew about the basic causes of most common diseases."

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Bill to stop misuse of dangerous technology could hit uni research

By Justin Norrie

The Defence Trade Controls Bill 2011, which restricts the use of materials that could be used in weapons, will inhibit a wide range of scientific research.

A bill designed to stop the transfer of sensitive materials and information would also impede crucial academic research, staff from the University of Sydney have told a senate hearing.

Defining ‘human’ – new fossils provide more questions than answers

By Darren Curnoe

Study finds evidence for new evolutionary line of prehistoric humans in East Asia.

The origin of the human species remains one of the most fascinating and difficult topics of modern science.

One of the main reasons for this is a continuing lack of agreement about how we should define ourselves. In other words, what is it that makes us human (or, scientifically, Homo sapiens)?

State of the Climate 2012

By Rob Vertessy and Megan Clark

The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO have released an updated summary of Australia’s long term climate trends.

Australia’s land and oceans have continued to warm in response to rising CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

This is the headline finding in the State of the Climate 2012, an updated summary of Australia’s long term climate trends released by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology today (14 March 2012).

The long-term warming trend has not changed.

Next generation of pharmaceuticals might make good use of shark antibody proteins

By La Trobe University

International collaboration evaluates new antibody technology

Australian research into shark antibodies that holds out the potential for new drugs and diagnostic agents is a step closer to realising its goal following an agreement with international diagnostic and pharmaceutical giant, Roche.

The pioneering work, which has attracted world-wide interest, is based on research led by Associate Professor Michael Foley at the La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science (LIMS).

It builds on discoveries over the last decade that shark antibodies could offer a lot of advantages over existing therapies in the fight against cancers and autoimmune diseases.

Desalination: Priorities for research in the Pacific

By Colin A. Scholes

‘Desal’ technology has been in place on Pacific atoll nations since as early as the 1980s, so why did recent droughts invoke a state of emergency? Current reverse osmosis desalination research focuses on the needs of the industrial world, which are far removed from the challenges faced in developing tropical nations.